An important part of our mission at Birth Boot Camp is to encourage and truly support mothers in breastfeeding. From day one we have had on staff an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Mellanie Sheppard, and every one of our students receives a two-disk breastfeeding DVD titled: Breastfeeding: the Ultimate MRE.
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For new parents, one of the most frequently asked questions is “Are you getting any sleep?” What is a new couple to do when everyone wonders how you and your baby are “performing” in this area? Here are a few simple tips that can help in those early days without resorting to less “baby-friendly” methods.
Understanding the basic needs and patterns of a newborn is very helpful. This does not sound like a tip to help baby sleep, but it will guide you and lend wisdom. Flexibility and realistic understanding of newborn needs can help your baby make more sense to you. Read more
Circumcision. It’s one of THOSE issues, hot button topics that really hit on people’s nerves and conversations get really heated, really fast. When I first began researching circumcision during my first pregnancy, I found that it was very difficult. It seemed like everything I found was either vehemently anti-circumcision or vehemently pro-circumcision. It was not easy to find out just the facts, or for me to understand the way that circumcision is viewed in our culture today. Read more
Three Basic Baby Carriers From Newborn To Toddler
Babywearing is one of the seven B’s of attachment parenting. While Dr. Sears told us all the benefits of babywearing, he could have written a completely separate book on the different WAYS to wear your baby. Like most things with babies, I am of the mindset that baby carriers are largely transitional with the different stages of development. While one type of carrier is great for a newborn it might not be ideal for a toddler and visa-versa. So how does a new mom, a first time mom, or even a first time babywearer pick the best baby carrier for their family’s needs? A friend and I have developed what we call the trifecta of baby carriers. These are the three carriers that we feel are great for any babywearer.
In my experience, most everybody starts with a stretchy wrap or carrier. It only makes sense, it is the cheapest of the trifecta and is available in most big box retail stores. Moby is the most widely known and available, though there are other comparable brands such as the Boba Wrap. Stretchy wraps and carriers are usually made out a stretchy jersey material. Wrap versions can be very versatile, but also carry a bit of learning curve. This is usually overcome by a pre wrapped stretchy carrier, such as the Baby K’tan. Two problems I had with the stretchy carrier were: I was unable to back wrap, due to it being unsafe, in addition to the fact that the weight limit was very low. By the time my son was about 15lbs my lower back was looking for a different solution. None the less, the stretchy wrap did serve its purpose very early on.
Another problem I had early on with my stretchy wrap was the length of time it took me to tie it in public. Not to mention the fact that it drug the nasty, dirty parking lot while I was trying to get it tied on outside of my car. With practice I got much quicker at this, but as I mentioned before there is a bit of learning curve. My solution to the learning curve was the ring sling. Ring slings are WONDERFUL to nurse in discreetly, as well as getting a baby in and out of the car quickly. The weight limit on ring slings can vary. The brand that I chose was SlingEze. I chose that one largely due to the padded shoulder and adjustable size. There are a variety of slings available some offer those options, others simply don’t. The choice on those features are largely personal, but I knew when hanging 20lbs from one shoulder that I wanted a little bit of cushion.
Even though my sling offered a great cushioned shoulder, eventually even that was overcome by gravity. Hang a 20lb baby from your shoulder for a couple hours and you will understand. This, combined with my husband’s reluctance to participate in what I found to be a quite enjoyable and meaningful experience lead me to buy my first soft structured carrier.
The soft structured carriers or the dad carrier is the final rung of the trifecta of carriers. If dad will wear a backpack, he more than likely will wear a soft structured carrier. It is not recommended that you ever face your child forward on your front due to stress on their spine; back wearing was my solution for the curious toddler who wanted to see everything as I saw it. Soft structured carriers are the only carrier in the trifecta where back carries are recommended. If not for back carries my babywearing relationship might have ended at least a year before its prime.
Besides being dad and back carry friendly, soft structured carriers also have one of the broadest weight limits, most will start as early as newborn (some require extra parts for this) and go up to 45lbs. One of the main things to look for in a good carrier are a wide seat, you want to see the butt of the carrier stretch from knee to knee like the Boba 3G. Narrow seats put undue stress on the hips and are contraindicated by the International Hip Displasia Institute. Unfortunately, the soft structured carrier is also the most expensive carrier of the trifecta.
There are a thousand different types of carriers, these are the top three basic carriers. Anything beyond this is what I, personally, consider intermediate or advanced baby wearing devices, in that their learning curves and prices increase, sometimes, exponentially. For more information on the trifecta or intermediate or advanced carriers find a local specialty store, visit them, AND shop with them. You will find a hidden wealth of knowledge in many cloth diaper stores, plus the time and man hours that are required to give you the personal attention you deserve. Another option is to search out local babywearing groups. Additional resources can be found nationwide at www.babywearinginternational.org or www.thebabywearer.com
Tiffany Carra owns the Fort Worth Cloth Diaper Store, Simple Baby, and is a chapter leader for the Tarrant County Birth Network, a chapter of BirthNetwork National. For more information about attachment parenting and cloth diapering topics visit the Simple Baby Blog.
I am going to tell you a story about how I decided to cloth diaper. In 2002, I had a friend that was pregnant with her first. At the time she was also recently single and broke. She had said that she was going to cloth diaper to save money. When she went to Babies R Us the only thing that was available were prefolds and cruddy plastic pants. Ask any grandma, plastic pants suck. They always have, they always will. They are reminiscent of a shower cap with leg holes. Except this shower cap was designed to keep the moisture in. HA! Slightly disappointed in what was available at big box retailers, I turned to the internet. I quickly found Fuzzibunz. At the time I thought they were the coolest thing ever, but alas was not inspired enough to run out and have a baby.
Fast forward to 2010, I am pregnant and reminded of my find 8 years prior. Yes, Fuzzibunz have been around that long. So I jumped online and found that there was much more than just Fuzzibunz, there were Fuzzibunz, GroVia, AppleCheeks, bumGenius, and more. I was quickly overwhelmed with the options available. I was completely aware of prefolds (ref afore mention friend) but fitteds, pockets, and all in ones were a completely new ballgame.
When I told my husband that I wanted to cloth diaper, he quickly told me that I was a complete lunatic. My husband is the second out of five boys. He remembered cloth diapering with those sucky plastic pants, prefolds, and pins. The conversation went a little like this:
“I am not washing diapers out in the toilet,” he told me.
“But honey we can cloth diaper at home and disposable while we are out. We will save a ton of money.” I replied
“You are crazy. I don’t care how much money we save. I am not swirling anything in the toilet.”
“Ok fine, we can cloth diaper at home and disposable while we are out, and *I* will take care of the laundry. You just change the diaper.”
“Whatever, but I still think you are crazy”
So that is what we did. We started out in pockets, but I wasn’t thrilled with fit or absorbency. Still confused by the difference between a fitted and an all in one, I decided to attend a Cloth Diaper 101 at my Chiropractor’s office. We picked up a couple All in Ones, a GroVia and a Bottombumpers .
Within a few weeks, my husband was helping me stuff our stash of pocket diapers. He exclaimed, “Just be done with this and go with the All in Ones!” HE was hooked. From that point on, my son was in cloth 100% of the time.
Now when my husband hears somebody is having a new baby, the first thing he asks is if they will be cloth or conventional diapering. The average answer is similar to what his was in the beginning. Now his response to their objections is simple…”Cloth is awesome!”
Tiffany, owns and operates the Fort Worth Cloth Diaper store, Simple Baby. She is an advocate for natural birth, breastfeeding, and real diapers. She is a chapter leader for Tarrant County Birth Network, the largest chapter of Birth Network National in the nation. For more information about cloth diapers be sure to visit the Simple Baby Cloth Diaper Encyclopedia.